The Future of eLearning: A Look Ahead
As educational technology advances and becomes integrated into our daily lives, we can expect employees to utilize online education tools like never before. TargetSolutions recently had the opportunity to interview Victoria Zambito about the future of eLearning. Zambito serves as the Senior Vice President of Content and Communications for Vector Solutions, which is TargetSolutions’ parent company. Here is the transcript of the Q&A.
Q: How is new technology, such as Virtual Reality, changing eLearning practices?
A: With new technology, learning is becoming more personalized and life-like than ever before. We are working to seamlessly integrate training into daily life and make it as relevant as possible to the individual user. One of the best ways to engage learners is by leveraging cutting-edge educational technology such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and 3D animation. These types of media offer us more realistic ways to reach learners, bring topics to life and convey complex information and processes. They can give rare looks inside machinery and other large items and create scenarios that could otherwise risk safety. This can be invaluable to a high-risk professional where training can be costly and difficult.
As an example, training firefighters out in the field is an expensive endeavor. Traditional field training exercises involve large teams of firefighters, their equipment, a dedicated training ground, and set up and tear down time for each field exercise being performed. If these training exercises are not performed frequently and with precision to shift tactical knowledge to long-term memory, lives can be at stake out on the fireground. Now, imagine a world where firefighters can practice these low-frequency scenarios in a safe, immersive virtual reality experience. This significantly increases his or her preparedness when entering a real fire.
Q: How is mobile-compatible training influencing the way we learn?
A: Mobile learning delivers content when and where the user needs it. It puts the user at the center of the learning experience. Learners can easily see the benefits as their training is delivered directly to their hands. This can increase their engagement and retention of the material, changing behavior and ultimately reducing risk and improving safety and performance. Now, with mobile learning, employees can complete compliance training on their phones while on a break or at home when they have a few spare minutes. They no longer have to take an entire day to go to train in a classroom.
Q: What impact can microlearning courses have on job performance?
A: Microlearning is proven to help increase comprehension and retention rates through its short, repetitive learning model. The efficacy of this education style is proven in learning theory. And with mobile app delivery, microlearning offers contextualized skills that can be learned and applied immediately in the field. You learn, and then you do – which also contributes to an increase in long-term retention rates. It’s real-time instant intelligence. Imagine a technician out in the field who can access a quick course refresher on their mobile phone before they perform a task. This skills reminder can significantly help them reduce risk – performing more safely and effectively on the job.
Technology like microlearning apps provides quick, bite-sized course pieces of information to improve job performance which benefits an organization by ultimately saving money on insurance claims from accidents and reducing production downtime, increasing the bottom line.
Q: What value does real-time training data deliver to organizations?
A: There are a few different ways data can be leveraged. The idea is that data, such as reports or requests, can be sourced to automatically prescribe relevant training. Using tools like Vector’s iConnect Training Recommendation Engine, organizations that want training to go beyond meeting minimum standards for compliance, can leverage event-based data to identify incidents or performance patterns. Using this information, they can respond with prescriptive training to mitigate potential risks and optimize performance.
So, for example, if one employee has a number of accidents on a fork lift, the learning system will track this trend and assign an applicable safety course to prevent further incidents. On the other side, it can be proactive as well. If a work order is put in for a light bulb to be fixed, that data feeds into the LMS, which then prescribes a ladder safety course to the technician before he or she completes the request. This type of training can save organizations thousands of dollars in insurance claims; the savings over time can be immense.
Q: What do you see in store for the future of eLearning?
A: We must design for the future to maintain a presence in the present. We are just scratching the surface of personalized learning that easily integrates into the learners’ lifestyle. As me move into the future, you can expect the popularization of tools such as VR and AR that have previous been very costly. You can also expect organizations to leverage learning technology more closely with their operational strategy as they look for new ways to improve performance and save money. As we understand how educational technology can quickly optimize performance on everyday tasks, and we leverage third party data to deliver the most, relevant content, we can expect to see employees leaning into online education tools like never before.
At Vector Solutions, we pride ourselves on listening to our clients and understanding their needs – and we work diligently to optimize our services and exceed expectations with our platform and tools. Last year we announced a course modernization initiative; and this year we delivered. We introduced our first Industrial AR app, our first VR firefighter training course, and our first microlearning app, RedVector GO. We are excited about the future of eLearning and finding new ways to help our learners do – and be – their best every day.
About the Author
As a member of the Vector Solutions executive team, Victoria Zambito has been responsible for successfully growing the highly profitable online education business since she joined the company in 2000. As Senior Vice President of Content and Communications, she is responsible for aligning and rationalizing the extensive library of 7,000 courses across multiple brands, as well as enhancing, standardizing and modernizing all content.